Donkeys Help In Ireland?


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Hi all, I know its been a while since the last post, but this move to Ireland has been so time-consuming! Apart from settling in and looking after the animals that came from Spain with us, we have also taken on two donkeys who we are hoping will be able to be part of a donkey education/therapy project next year.

At the moment we are getting them used to interacting with us and the environment around them, as they were quite shy when we got them. The process involves taking them for walks, grooming, walking them in and out of challenging environments, and putting up with the seven cats who like to come with us wherever we go! I have to say they do take exception when the cats get to close and poor Gobbi has been close to stamping hooves a couple of times…but it doesn’t deter him!

The donkeys are not the best helpers though as I discovered when I was trying dig up a new yard area for them!JB helloclean up 2clean up 3cleanup3

To be fair both Lee (my Stepdaughter and donkey expert) and me think they will be perfect to go with us to schools and events to promote animal welfare next year.

With winter drawing in and the urgent work list reducing at last, I hope to be able to spend more time working on WTFAW and on this blog!

Will keep you all informed on progress


Please help Equines in Ireland


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mayo horse and pony

Equines in Ireland are facing a bleak future at the moment, and with winter near at hand things can only get worse. There are a few good organisations doing the best they can, one of which is, The Horse and Donkey Sanctuary  Mayo

They have just rescued 32 horses and Mules and are desperately trying to find homes or accommodate them. If you can help in any way either by providing a home for a horse or mule or by giving a donation please click the link below to find out more.

Trap Neuter Release (TNR) – Kitty Goes Home

Originally posted on Fighting for Hope's Blog:

Below is an old video I came across recently and it prompted me to highlight the neutering work undertaken by the Cats Protection.  The Cats Protection is the largest single cat neutering group in the world.

In December 2013, Science Daily reported on a research finding that widespread ignorance amongst cat-owners about the sex lives of their pets may be leading to more than 200,000 unplanned litters, equivalent to more than 850,000 kittens every year in the UK.

In August 2013, Science Daily reported on research showing that feral cats which undergo a vasectomy or hysterectomy could reduce a feral colony’s numbers more effectively than the traditional approach of neutering.

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New Country….New Direction?


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As you will have read in my last few posts we, my wife Stef, our seven cats and two dogs, have moved to Co Mayo in sunny Ireland! The move was a story in itself, but suffice to say although the animals all travelled well, it is not a trip we would want to repeat in a hurry!

Having kept the cats indoors for ten days, we were more than a little concerned that once we opened the door and let them into the damp Irish air (and it has been damp!) they would make a beeline back towards Spain. But the good news is they seem to love it here and have settled in well.

Khan, loving his new home in Ireland

Khan, loving his new home in Ireland

So now I have to decide what I want to concentrate on involving animal welfare in the future. Whilst WTFAW has been great, it does not provide the hands on approach I have been used to for most of my life.

One thing my Mother was very keen on, was the interaction between animals and children with special needs. She started The Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys which over the last twenty plus years has helped thousands of children all over the UK and in Northern Ireland. I believe that the benefit is mutual as donkeys are intelligent creatures and love to be kept occupied. I was personally involved in setting up the first projects in the UK and later in Spain and Italy. I can say from experience, that the benefits to both human and animal are significant. My most memorable moment was when we made our very first visit to a school in Spain and a little girl with cerebral palsy’s face lit up as she stroked her donkey, and how she laughed out loud with pleasure as he freed her from the confines of her wheelchair. Her carer’s said they had never seen her laugh like that before. Donkeys can also bring great joy to the older generation. So many people who have lived most of their lives in the country miss contact with animals when confined to a home, and a visit from a friendly donkey will often bring back happy memories.

Having set up and run The Donkey Sanctuary in Ireland, I know that neither they or the other welfare organisations in Ireland can cope with the number of donkeys and horses who are suffering terrible hardship at the moment. Whilst our small plot of land can not provide a solution to the problems facing equines in Ireland, we may help to get the message out that donkeys and other “pets” are not just for amusement or sport, but can make a real difference to the lives of people, and deserve to be treated with respect.

I am considering starting an animal assisted therapy project here in Ireland involving rescued donkeys, people with special needs and residents in old people homes. For the moment I will keep WTFAW active and post everything from the new project here.

I would be really interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

Here are a few before pictures of the facilities. As you will see, there is a bit of work to do!

Plenty of buildings, but lots of work required to get them ready.

Plenty of buildings, but lots of work required to get them ready.

This stable may need a clean first!

This stable may need a clean first!

lots of grass, but some fencing required?

lots of grass, but some fencing required?

At least we can grow some vegetables to keep us going!

At least we can grow some vegetables to keep us going!



Help Stop Live Pony Carousel’s In Spain


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They walk in circles for hours and hours accompanied by the blare of music and screaming children. They are given no more rights then their wooden counterparts, who at least cannot suffer. What message do we give our children about respecting the dignity of the animals we share this planet with. If they do not realise the suffering the ponies endure as they enjoy their rides, what hope of them becoming adults who will respect the rights of animals in the future.

Please sign this petition and add your voice to the thousands who have already done so

No time to write!



Sorry about the lack of posts recently but we are in the middle of moving from Spain to Southern Ireland. With seven rescue cats and 2 dogs it is no simple matter and I have just arrived back at our home in Spain with a large van and a horse-box which I am currently converting to give the animals a comfy home for the three-day journey .



The property, pictured above has two acres of land and it will be a real base where WTFAW can provide more practical animal welfare solutions.

We plan to be in the new property by the 8th of May so will be quite busy to that point and a little beyond I suspect! I will try to update the site as often as I can in the meanwhile.


Dandylion and Mushroom Risotto


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Having just moved to rural Ireland I have discovered the joys of foraging on my early morning walks. If I survive my experiments I will post a few recipes for you to try, safe in the knowledge that i tried it on myself first :)

Dandelions are the scourge of most gardeners, but all the plant can be eaten and they are great in salads or in dishes like this. I have been told the open flowers are great dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried, so will be trying that one soon!


Find young plants and pluck the closed buds and leaves. Do not pick from busy roadsides.

Serves one so just multiply for several diners


Splash olive oil

1 small red onion (or wild onion if you can find them)

Half handful of dandelion buds unopened

2 cloves of garlic (replace with wild garlic if you can find it

½ cup risotto rice

A couple of medium mushrooms chopped.

1 handful of dandelion leaves washed without stalks

Splash dry white wine

A cup and a half of vegetable stock

1 Tablespoon hummus

¼ lemon

Dandielion Risotto



Chop the onions, crush and chop the garlic and put into pot along with the dandelion buds. Sweat for a few minutes, then add the rice and sweat for a couple more. Add mushrooms and wine, and cook until liquid has gone. Add half a cup of stock and the dandelion leaves and simmer stirring occasionally, gradually adding more stock as needed. When rice is cooked add seasoning and stir in Hummus. Serve with a couple of slices of your favourite bread and a squeeze of lemon.


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